Harry, Ron and Dumbledore — A Love Story April 21, 2004Posted by thinkmilly in Essays.
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April 21, 2004
I think most of you have probably at least heard of the Ron=DD AKA REDHEAD ALWAYS theory. If not, check out http://www.knight2king.net and click on ‘Weasley is Our King’. That is my starting point. At some point in the next two Harry Potter books (most likely book seven) Ron will travel back in time and become Albus Dumbledore. I’ll leave out the mechanics for now and focus on the implication as far as the great Love Story is concerned. This post isn’t about proving Ron=DD, but about the wider septology theme of love and how it relates to Harry, Ron and Dumbledore.
A lot of people in the fandom are concerned with the question of future romantic relationships — who will Harry end up with, will Hermione get with Ron or Harry, is Ginny really over Harry, was Snape in love with Lily, is Sirius/Remus ‘canon’, is Blaise Zabini a boy or girl, etc. The series ends with the major characters still teenagers. In other words, I don’t think it really matters. Don’t get me wrong, I have my ideas about Snape and I sigh a happy theirloveissocanon every time I read the joint Christmas presents scene in OotP. I have my shipping preferences for the younger crowd even, but there is a another love story here, a more important ‘ship and it is not necessarily a romantic one (though it could be). That is, of course, Harry/Ron… or Harry/Dumbledore.
Ron isn’t the first person from the Wizarding World Harry meets, but he is his first real friend. Not just his first friend in this new chapter of his life, but his first friend EVER. Harry may have just as easily have found friendship on that train with Neville or Seamus or Ernie MacMillan or even Draco Malfoy, but it is Ron, the easily forgotten youngest of six boys, Harry instantly bonds with. This is cemented when Draco later offers his hand in friendship, and Harry refuses it in favor of Ron.
Ron becomes Harry’s constant companion, his best friend, his ‘every wizard’ guide in the magical world. Harry and Ron eventually befriend Hermione Granger, but for the first few books at least, Harry and Ron are definately closer. At the end of the first book, we see just how far Ron is willing to go for Harry when he sacrifices himself to the white Queen so that Harry can go on to fight Quirrelmort. I predict he will make an identical sacrifice in book seven, willingly, this time older and KNOWING it will probably mean death. Or maybe even something worse than death.
In CoS, Harry goes into the Chamber of Secrets to save Ron’s little sister. Would Harry have done this anyway? Played the hero? Maybe, but the primary here was that this was Ron’s sister. “It was probably the worst day of Harry’s entire life.” Harry didn’t know Ginny very well, yet his closeness with Ron made this the ‘worst day’ in a life full of really bad days. Ginny was important to Harry because Ron was important to Harry. In PoA, Ron stands up on a broken leg to defend Harry against what he thought was a violent mass murderer. Ron had no chance against Black, and knowing that, he still stood up for Harry. “If you want to kill Harry, you’ll have to kill us too!”
In GoF and OotP, Hermione begins to take a more equal friendship with Harry as Ron, but it is Ron who is the treasure Harry will miss most. Many times in an R/Hr vs. H/Hr shipping debate I have seen shippers trot out the fact that when it comes down to it, there is more evidence for Harry/Ron than Hermione with either of the two boys. This is usually submitted jokingly when debate is getting particularly tiresome, but I don’t think it is a joke. Harry/Ron is *the* ship. It doesn’t have to be sexual or romantic, but Ron quite explicitly being set up as the treasure Harry would miss most screams ‘theirloveissocanon’. Forget joint Christmas presents. It also screams ‘foreshadowing’, but that’s an entirely different essay 😉
So, we get to OotP. I know a lot of Ron fans and R/Hr fans were disapointed. Ron was in the background a great deal of the time. As a Ron fan, however, I was quite pleased – Ron was developing on his own, apart from Harry. Taking on new responsibilities and getting a bit of his own glory (and disapointment). However, OotP is what cemented Ron=DD for me as well as Harry/Ron. It was this line, specifically:
“I was sure that if he realised that our relationship was – or had ever been – closer than that of headmaster and pupil, he would seize his chance to spy on me.”
When thinkmilly and I were researching K2K, we employed the use of text files and searching. 800 odd pages (US edition) of OotP, and there is a word in the above line that ix discovered was only used ONCE – relationship. We spend so much time in fanfiction and shipping debates discussing relationships, and the one time the word is used in canon, it is in the context of the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore. Harry and Ron.
This entire chapter is rather interesting. We have the wise and seemingly omniscient Dumbledore admitting the most grevious error, and that error was made because of his love for Harry. But then, it is Harry’s own feelings for Ron and Hermione that keeps him from telling THEM about the Prophecy:
“Harry’s heart began to race. He had not told Ron, Hermione or anyone else what the prophecy had contained. Neville had told them it had smashed while Harry was pulling him up the steps in the Death Room , and Harry had not yet corrected this impression. He was not ready to see their expressions when he told them that he must be either murderer or victim, there was no other way…”
.In the World Book Day chat, JKR tells us that Harry will tell his nearest and dearest when he is ready. Much like with Dumbledore, it will be too late.
There is one more example of telling and not telling that is, well, rather telling, especially when contrasted with Dumbledore hiding the prophecy from Harry and Harry hiding the prophecy from Ron and Hermione. In the beginning of OotP, when Harry first arrives at Grimmauld Place, he is very angry with Ron and Hermione over their keeping things from him (on the orders of Dumbledore, of course). When it comes time for some of the Order to tell Harry a bit about what is going on, Molly tries to shoo away the other children. Ron pipes in:
“Harry’ll tell me and Hermione everything you say anyway!” said Ron hotly. “Won’t – won’t you?” he added uncertainly, meeting Harry’s eyes.For a split second, Harry considered telling Ron that he wouldn’t tell him a single word, that he could try a taste of being kept in the dark and see how he liked it. But the nasty impulse vanished as they looked at each other.
Here, Harry makes a decision to include Ron based on this look between them and their feelings for one another. Harry can’t bring himself to hurt Ron when faced with him (unlike sending Hedwig to peck his fingers off), so he can’t leave him out. Later, he doesn’t tell Ron about the prophecy because he doesn’t want to see the look on his face – he doesn’t want to hurt him. Later, Ron as Dumbledore does the very same thing because of his love for Harry.
“I cared more for you happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of mind that my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed.”
Over and over we have a pattern of Ron stepping up defend Harry, willing to risk death if necessary. Keep in mind, that this was how the book series began – another redhead, Lily, dying to defend Harry. The whole story hinges on love and what we do for love – the love of a mother, the love of a friend. In the end, Ron will stand up for Harry one last time. Or it will look like one last time. He’ll be sent back in time and spend his entire life in preparation for what is to come. Dumbledore is often accused of being manipulative – and he is. But he has to be. I think what OotP shows, however, that his motivations aren’t so much about saving the world anymore, but saving Harry. This is his greatest fault, but also his saving grace. Harry is the reason he is where he is in the first place.
When Dumbledore tells Harry “I know what you are feeling, Harry”, I believe he does. This is a man who lost everything – all of his friends, his family, everyone he had ever known. When he talks about ‘a pain worse than death’, I think he is referring to this – losing Harry, losing Hermione, losing his family. It is this same pain that prompted Lily to face Voldemort and die rather than lose her son, and I think it will be this pain that will prompt Ron to die rather than lose Harry. Only he will lose Harry, and even later becoming Dumbledore doesn’t get him back. Not the way they once were.
no_remorse has raised some interesting questions about the final theme of the Harry Potter series, and specifically, the possibility of the Christian theme Rowling has hinted at. I’ve given all of this an enormous amount of thought, but I am still not sure about any of it. I am not a Christian, and I have some issues with one potential Christian theme in particular. However, I think that whatever the ‘big theme’, Christian or otherwise, it will have to do with Love. I hope Rowling has something different and original to say about it, but perhaps she won’t. And maybe that’s not such a horrible thing. I am a sucker for a good love story.
1 Corinthians 13Love
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
As a footnote, I must bring up Hermione. I think there is a love story here as well involving both boys. I am more unsure of her fate than that of Ron’s, however, I do believe that the trio friendship is the OTHER great love story of the Harry Potter series. no_remorse has a great essay here.